Below are a few quotations (underlining added by me for emphasis) from selected General Conference talks by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. A complete list of his Conference talks is available at LDS.org.
From Free Forever, to Act for Themselves (October 2014):
God does not save us “just as we are,” first, because “just as we are” we are unclean, and “no unclean thing can dwell … in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man [of Holiness]" (Moses 6:57). And second, God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become. Truly He loves us, and because He loves us, He neither compels nor abandons us. Rather He helps and guides us. Indeed, the real manifestation of God’s love is His commandments.
We should (and we do) rejoice in the God-ordained plan that permits us to make choices to act for ourselves and experience the consequences, or as the scriptures express it, to “taste the bitter, that [we] may know to prize the good" (Moses 6:55). We are forever grateful that the Savior’s Atonement overcame original sin so that we can be born into this world yet not be punished for Adam’s transgression. (See AoF 2; see also 2 Nephi 2:25, Moses 6:53–56.) Having been thus redeemed from the Fall, we begin life innocent before God and “become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for [ourselves] and not to be acted upon" (2 Nephi 2:26; see also D&C 93:38). We can choose to become the kind of person that we will, and with God’s help, that can be even as He is. (See 3 Nephi 12:48, 27:27; see also Romans 8:16–17, D&C 84:37–38.)
The gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path to what we may become. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His grace, our failures to live the celestial law perfectly and consistently in mortality can be erased and we are enabled to develop a Christlike character. Justice demands, however, that none of this happen without our willing agreement and participation. It has ever been so. Our very presence on earth as physical beings is the consequence of a choice each of us made to participate in our Father’s plan. Thus, salvation is certainly not the result of divine whim, but neither does it happen by divine will alone. (See D&C 93:29–31.)
Justice is an essential attribute of God. We can have faith in God because He is perfectly trustworthy. The scriptures teach us that “God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round” and that “God is no respecter of persons" (D&C 3:2, Acts 10:34). We rely on the divine quality of justice for faith, confidence, and hope.
But as a consequence of being perfectly just, there are some things God cannot do. He cannot be arbitrary in saving some and banishing others. He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance" (D&C 1:31). He cannot allow mercy to rob justice. (See Alma 42:25.)
It is compelling evidence of His justice that God has forged the companion principle of mercy. It is because He is just that He devised the means for mercy to play its indispensable role in our eternal destiny. So now, “justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own" (Alma 42:24).
We know that it is “the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom [the Father] wast well pleased; … the blood of [His] Son which was shed” (D&C 45:4) that satisfies the demands of justice, extends mercy, and redeems us. (See Mosiah 15:9.) Even so, “according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance" (Alma 42:13). It is the requirement of and the opportunity for repentance that permits mercy to perform its labor without trampling justice.
From The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (April 2014):
Having satisfied the demands of justice, Christ now steps into the place of justice; or we might say He is justice, just as He is love. Likewise, besides being a “perfect, just God,” He is a perfect, merciful God (Alma 42:15). Thus, the Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy.
By the same token, we are all accountable to Him for our lives, our choices, and our actions, even our thoughts. Because He redeemed us from the Fall, our lives are in reality His.
From Redemption (April 2013):
Among the most significant of Jesus Christ’s descriptive titles is Redeemer. As indicated in my brief account of immigrant “redemptioners,” the word redeem means to pay off an obligation or a debt. Redeem can also mean to rescue or set free as by paying a ransom. If someone commits a mistake and then corrects it or makes amends, we say he has redeemed himself. Each of these meanings suggests different facets of the great Redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ through His Atonement, which includes, in the words of the dictionary, “to deliver from sin and its penalties, as by a sacrifice made for the sinner.”
The Savior’s Redemption has two parts. First, it atones for Adam’s transgression and the consequent Fall of man by overcoming what could be called the direct effects of the Fall — physical death and spiritual death. Physical death is well understood; spiritual death is the separation of man from God. In the words of Paul, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). This redemption from physical and spiritual death is both universal and without condition.
The second aspect of the Savior’s Atonement is redemption from what might be termed the indirect consequences of the Fall — our own sins as opposed to Adam’s transgression. By virtue of the Fall, we are born into a mortal world where sin — that is, disobedience to divinely instituted law — is pervasive. Speaking of all of us, the Lord says:
Even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves (Moses 6:55–56).
Because we are accountable and we make the choices, the redemption from our own sins is conditional — conditioned on confessing and abandoning sin and turning to a godly life, or in other words, conditioned on repentance (see D&C 58:43).
From The Doctrine of Christ (April 2012):
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “we believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (AoF 9). This is to say that while there is much we do not yet know, the truths and doctrine we have received have come and will continue to come by divine revelation. In some faith traditions, theologians claim equal teaching authority with the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and doctrinal matters may become a contest of opinions between them. Some rely on the ecumenical councils of the Middle Ages and their creeds. Others place primary emphasis on the reasoning of post-apostolic theologians or on biblical hermeneutics and exegesis. We value scholarship that enhances understanding, but in the Church today, just as anciently, establishing the doctrine of Christ or correcting doctrinal deviations is a matter of divine revelation to those the Lord endows with apostolic authority.
From The Divine Gift of Repentance (October 2011):
As in the days of Nehor and Korihor, we live in a time not long before the advent of Jesus Christ — in our case, the time of preparation for His Second Coming. And similarly, the message of repentance is often not welcomed. Some profess that if there is a God, He makes no real demands upon us (see Alma 18:5). Others maintain that a loving God forgives all sin based on simple confession, or if there actually is a punishment for sin, “God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 28:8). Others, with Korihor, deny the very existence of Christ and any such thing as sin. Their doctrine is that values, standards, and even truth are all relative. Thus, whatever one feels is right for him or her cannot be judged by others to be wrong or sinful.
On the surface such philosophies seem appealing because they give us license to indulge any appetite or desire without concern for consequences. By using the teachings of Nehor and Korihor, we can rationalize and justify anything. When prophets come crying repentance, it “throws cold water on the party.” But in reality the prophetic call should be received with joy. Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life. Pretending there is no sin does not lessen its burden and pain. Suffering for sin does not by itself change anything for the better. Only repentance leads to the sunlit uplands of a better life. And, of course, only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation. Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces when we speak of it. It points us to freedom, confidence, and peace. Rather than interrupting the celebration, the gift of repentance is the cause for true celebration.
Also from The Divine Gift of Repentance, quoting D&C 20:30-31 and adding his own parenthetical expansions:
We know that justification [or forgiveness of sins] through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true;
And we know also, that sanctification [or purification from the effects of sin] through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength (D&C 20:30–31).
From Moral Discipline (October 2009):
By “moral discipline,” I mean self-discipline based on moral standards. Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard. It rejects the self-absorbed life in favor of developing character worthy of respect and true greatness through Christlike service (see Mark 10:42–45). The root of the word discipline is shared by the word disciple, suggesting to the mind the fact that conformity to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ is the ideal discipline that, coupled with His grace, forms a virtuous and morally excellent person.
From Born Again (April 2008):
It was Jesus who stated that entry into the kingdom of God requires that one be born again — born of water and of the Spirit (see John 3:3–5). His teaching about a physical and a spiritual baptism helps us understand that both our own action and the intervention of divine power are needed for this transformative rebirth — for the change from natural man to saint (see Mosiah 3:19). Paul described being born again with this simple expression: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
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Now, the Lord cautions us to take heed since “there is a possibility that man may fall from grace” (D&C 20:32), even those who are sanctified (see vv. 32–34). As Nephi counseled: “Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).